Saturday, 9 March 2019

I have been to... Chile

Me and my wife have recently returned from a cruise around the bottom of South America from Santiago to Buenos Aires. On the map it looks fairly pathetic, but it was still 4000 nautical miles, which is a fair old way. First stop was Chile (we started with a few days in Santiago).

In the museum in Santiago is this painting of the Battle of Chacabuco, evidently the decisive battle of the war of Chilean Independance. The General in the foreground is Bernard O'Higgins. There are statues of him all over Chile, as well as a number of rather grand streets.

The rather Fascist looking new University on the Plaza D'Italia.

Santiago from San Cristobal, the Andes dimly visible through the attractive smog. Santiago is in a basin in the mountains, and in summer is notoriously smoggy. It was over 30 degrees too. 

A very old South American mummy.

Sailing further south, it got colder and we passed many volcanoes, like this one.

Glaciers also put in an appearance once we got to Patagonia.

Some of them were quite big.

The wreck of a WW2 troop transport near the Magellan Strait.

We finally made it to Punta Arenas on the Magellan Strait. If ever there was  windswept hell-hole, it was here. The original colonists all died of starvation as nothing would grow. This is a Chilean arctic survey ship.

An unexpected surprise was finding HMS Beagle! Only a replica, but even so...

It was an excellent repro, and shockingly small (around 90 feet).

It looked rather good from the beach.

This is one of the launches.

Another repro was this Caravel, Magellans 'Nao Victoria'. It was also tiny, only 75 feet long.

Demonstrating how to operate the breech loading swivel gun.

My trusty assistant managed to never remove her finger from the lens.

Ready to fire. No health and safety here (and there really wasn't, we clambered all over and into these ships, I could have gone up the rigging if I'd been so inclined).

This is a repro of Shackletons lifeboat from the Endurance. It was also tiny, I really can't imagine navigating 30 foot seas in this.

There was an excellent display about Shackletons expedition in both Spanish and English.

Shackletons parka.

Just to show we were there.

This beached ship was just down the coast. Although it doesn't look it, there was a howling gale (it blew all the clouds away) and all the sailings of smaller ships from the port were cancelled.

General O'Higgins again.

Down in Tierra Fuego, this is the Beagle Strait, one of the most desolate places I've ever been. We didn't see another human for two entire days, and just one other ship. There was hardly even any vegetation, although plenty of wildlife (seals, dolphins, whales), and lots of glaciers. 

The howling gale was getting worse and the Captain was keen to get over to Argentina as fast as possible, so we skirted Cape Horn and pressed on through the channel in daylight. We passed Desolation Island (of Aubrey and Maturing fame) on the way.

Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare? Maybe not.

The Chilean/Argentine border was marked by this Chilean listening post, the first settlement we saw in two days. In the channel we we sheltered from the storm and it was dead calm.


  1. Wow!
    Around the planet and back!
    I'm impressed

    1. LOL, not quite all the way around, but certainly down to the bottom and back.

  2. I suspect your photographic assistant wasn’t taking your swivel gun posing very seriously. I can’t think why....

    1. I know. No appreciation of what is really important.